Gaisberg’s Travels

On the 23rd of July 1898 Fred Gaisberg, at the age of 25 set sail on the 9 a.m. SS Umbria Cunard ship from New York to Liverpool. He was sent by the inventor of the Gramophone, Emile Berliner to London as one of the first sound engineers to set up a recording studio inContinue reading “Gaisberg’s Travels”

Scott’s Gramophone Great Tour

In 1910 this beautiful HMV Gramophone was loaned by The Gramophone Company to Captain Scott to keep the sailors and expedition team entertained as they made their way to the South Pole. Scott took with him two HMV “monarch” gramophones, donated by The Gramophone Company, which later became EMI, together with several hundred 78rpm discs,Continue reading “Scott’s Gramophone Great Tour”

Happy American Independence day!

In the early days of the Gramophone Company the British founders worked closely with their American counterparts. A lot of the initial success can be attributed to one of the first sound and recording engineers – American Born Fred Gaisberg. He began working on the newly invented gramophone in the late 19th century and wasContinue reading “Happy American Independence day!”

Exhibition of Stadivari violin played by EMI classical artist Yehudi Menuhin

This summer (13 June – 11 August)  the Ashmolian Museum in Oxford  has a exceptional exhibition celebrating the work of the seventeenth century master crafter of string instruments; Antonio Stadivari.  The rarely seen pieces will include a 1721 Stradivarius violin played by the famous EMI classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin before its auction at Sotheby’s 1971Continue reading “Exhibition of Stadivari violin played by EMI classical artist Yehudi Menuhin”

Frank Bates jazz legend commemorated

Last Sunday a plaque was unveiled in Southwark  in memory of one of Britain’s earliest black jazz musicians Frank Bates. The Southern Syncopated Orchestra was formed by the American composer Will Marion Cook and comprised 27 musicians and 19 singers.  The musicians came from, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Guyana, Barbados, Antigua and Ghana amongContinue reading “Frank Bates jazz legend commemorated”

Winner, Scott’s Last Expedition

The Natural History Museum won the Best of the Best award at the Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence 2013 ceremony last night. Scott’s Last Expedition took the award for Best Temporary or Touring Exhibition, recognising the innovative approach it took to revealing the tales of endurance and scientific achievements of Robert Falcon Scott’s epicContinue reading “Winner, Scott’s Last Expedition”

Spinning Discs – Postscript

By Wayne Shevlin My previous blog on SOTH—Century of Spinning Plastic Discs—was an abstract musing on the nature of musical records as historical artefacts.  It was originally written a few years ago, back when the great music emporiums—HMV, Virgin and Tower—still presided imperiously over the high street.  Opening salvo of 2013: that abstract musing isContinue reading “Spinning Discs – Postscript”

A Whisper That Roars

By Wayne Shevlin I’d like to celebrate the microphone and the revolutionary impact it has had on music. As technology, the microphone is a marvel: converting into electricity the invisible, minute air pressure waves – what we in our mind’s ear perceive as sound – so that the very essence of sound can be capturedContinue reading “A Whisper That Roars”